Great Cake Decorating by Erin Gardner

Sweet Genius. That's what the food network named her — Now Erin Gardner has taken another step into sweet stardom

Funny how one small thing can completely change your life — for Erin Gardner, it was an e-mail advertising a class in making gum paste flowers for cakes. It arrived just as Gardner was trying to decide what direction to take in her world of pastry making. As she learned the craft in the class, she realized that the artistic aspect the gum paste flowers offered was the key to building her career.

Now, years later, Gardner is recognized as one of the finest pastry chefs around (she was recently selected as a “Sweet Genius” by the Food Network); her cakes are considered works of art. The renown of her Dover-based Wild Orchid Baking Co. is such that a prestigious publishing company approached her (how many people does that happen to?) to create a book about how she does what she does.              

The result is “Great Cake Decorating” [The Taunton Press, $21.95], a beautifully produced compendium that takes the reader step-by-step through the process of creating cakes, both for special occasions like weddings and for, as Gardner puts it, “smaller shindigs.” Photographer Mark Davidson captures the exquisite detail  of the cakes — the gum paste flowers, of course, but also the ruffles, bows, puffs and all the other elements of Gardner’s work.

Whether it’s an elegant wedding cake or one that replicates a tailgate grill (hot dogs and hamburgers included), you’ll find yourself amazed — and charmed.

Genius is the right word.



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